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U.S. Department of State

Preface to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1994

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Febuary 1995.

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Preface

1994 Human RIGHTS REPORTS

TITLE:  PREFACE TO HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995


                                   PREFACE
                          1994 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTS

Why The Reports Are Prepared

This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of
State in compliance with sections 116(d) and 502(b) of the
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, and section
505(c) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.  As stated in
section 116(d)(1) of the FAA: 'The Secretary of State shall
transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by January 31 of
each year, a full and complete report regarding the status of
internationally recognized human rights, within the meaning of
subsection (A) in countries that receive assistance under this
part, and (B) in all other foreign countries which are members
of the United Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of
a human rights report under this Act.' We have also included
reports on several countries which do not fall into the
categories established by these statutes and which are thus not
covered by the Congressional requirement.

The responsibility of the United States to speak out on behalf
of international human rights standards was formalized in the
early 1970's.  In 1976 Congress enacted legislation creating a
Coordinator of Human Rights in the U.S. Department of State, a
position later upgraded to Assistant Secretary.  In 1994 the
Congress created a position of Senior Advisor for Women's
Rights.  Congress has also written into law formal requirements
that U.S. foreign and trade policy take into account countries'
human rights and worker rights performance and that country
reports be submitted to the Congress on an annual basis.  The
first reports, in 1977, covered only countries receiving U.S.
aid, numbering 82; this year's reports cover 193.

How the Reports are Prepared

In August 1993, the Secretary of State moved to strengthen
further the human rights efforts of our embassies.  All sections
in each embassy were asked to contribute information and to
corroborate reports of human rights violations, and new efforts
were made to link mission programming to the advancement of
human rights and democracy.  This year, the Bureau of Human
Rights and Humanitarian Affairs was reorganized and renamed as
the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, reflecting
both a broader sweep and a more focused approach to the
interlocking issues of human rights, worker rights, and
democracy.  The 1994 human rights reports reflect a year of
dedicated effort by hundreds of State Department, Foreign
Service, and other U.S.  Government employees.

Our embassies, which prepared the initial drafts of the reports,
gathered information throughout the year from a variety of
sources across the political spectrum, including government
officials, jurists, military sources, journalists, human rights
monitors, academics, and labor activists.  This information-
gathering can be hazardous, and U.S. Foreign Service Officers
regularly go to great lengths, under trying and sometimes
dangerous conditions, to investigate reports of human rights
abuse, monitor elections, and come to the aid of individuals at
risk, such as political dissidents and human rights defenders
whose rights are threatened by their governments.

After the embassies completed their drafts, the texts were sent
to Washington for careful review by the Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights, and Labor, in cooperation with other State
Department offices.  As they worked to corroborate, analyze, and
edit the reports, the Department officers drew on their own
sources of information.  These included reports provided U.S. and
other human rights groups, foreign government officials,
representatives from the United Nations and other international
and regional organizations and institutions, and experts from
academia and the media.  Officers also consulted with experts on
worker rights issues, refugee issues, military and police
matters, women's issues, and legal matters.  The guiding
principle was to ensure that all relevant information was
assessed as objectively, thoroughly, and fairly as possible.
The reports in this volume will be used as a resource for shaping
policy, conducting diplomacy, and making assistance, training,
and other resource allocations.  They will also serve as a basis
for the U.S.  Government's cooperation with private groups to
promote the observance of internationally recognized human
rights.

The Country Reports on Human Rights cover internationally
recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as
set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  These
rights include freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman, or
degrading treatment or punishment; from prolonged detention
without charges; from disappearance due to abduction or
clandestine detention; and from other flagrant violations of the
right to life, liberty, and the security of the person.
Universal human rights aim to incorporate respect for human
dignity into the processes of government and law.  All people
have the inalienable right to change their government by peaceful
means and to enjoy basic freedoms, such as freedom of expression,
association, assembly, movement, and religion, without
discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin,
or sex.  The right to join a free trade union is a necessary
condition of a free society and economy.  Thus the reports assess
key internationally recognized worker rights, including the right
of association; the right to organize and bargain collectively;
prohibition of forced or compulsory labor; minimum age for
employment of children; and acceptable work conditions.


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[end of document]

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